Mes amis, do you vaguely remember the film Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon) from your childhood? I recently watched it again with my children and was reminded how heartwarming it is. Honestly, it's the perfect little film for February, especially if you love Paris, childhood nostalgia, and stories with magical realism.
Here's a little background: French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse wrote and filmed the screenplay in 1956, featuring his son Pascal as the little boy (and his daughter Sabine has a brief cameo as well). The film follows Pascal as he adopts a red balloon with comically human qualities. With almost no dialogue, the story manages to express moments of joy, frustration, laughter, jealousy, sadness, and elation. It's a tragic tale, but it also has an 'appy end (as the French say) which will amuse viewers even if they don't understand French. It won the Palme d'Or for best short film at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, as well as an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay that same year.
You can watch all 34 minutes of it here on YouTube, but I'm buying the Criterion Collection's version on DVD as an impromptu gift for my children. It would also be a sweet (and inexpensive) gift for early childhood teachers or French language instructors, because films like this deserve to play a role in everyone's school years.
Do you have a childhood film that you continue to love? Did you ever receive a Valentine's gift that you really cherished?
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. The review is my own unsolicited opinion.